Between: The Exit is the Only Entrance

Between: The Exit is the Only Entrance

To disappear without hiding,
To represent without showing.

Between is an experimental short film by the German filmmaker Tim Bollinger.  The film has been described as a dark, surreal piece that travels through grounds and walls and into moments stuck in time.  As Bollinger describes it, “It’s a journey through worlds of the subconscious, allowing us to catch sinister glimpses of the human psyche’s ambivalence.”  Its complex combinations and the resulting visions evoke a stroll in between different senses, caught up in an endless loop within our inner life, where the exit is the only entrance.

Between: The Exit is the Only Entrance

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George Washington: The Loss of All Things

George Washington: The Loss of All Things

George Washington is David Gordon Green’s acclaimed impressionistic Southern Gothic debut film, which one reviewer described as “within a heart-shot of William Faulkner.”  Green won the Best First Film prize from the New York Film Critics, the Discovery Award at Toronto and the Best Director Prize at The Newport film Festival.

David Gordon Green’s feature debut is a seamless blend of subjectivity, pseudo-documentary, evocation of childhood and mythopoeia.  In an impoverished small town in North Carolina, various misfit and poor children converse.  “Look at this place,” one boy says to another. “It looks like two tornadoes came through here.”  The town is dilapidated; one of the “tornadoes” may have been the Great Depression.  Shots of railroad tracks suggest dreams of getting out.  But during the course of the film, death hovers: a boy dies; as a result, another boy feels that God’s judgment is close; another boy almost dies; a boy’s dog dies.  The underlying theme of George Washington is clearly “the loss of all things.”

The videos presented here include the hypnotic opening sequence of David Gordon Green’s auspicious debut film George Washington, another video from the film described as an influential scene in modern cinema and an interview with Charlie Rose, where Green talks about his film George Washington.

George Washington: The Loss of All Things

George Washington: An Influential Scene in Modern Cinema

Charlie Rose: David Gordon Green Talks About “George Washington”

(Charlie Rose Interview: March 8, 2001)

A detailed review of George Washington can be read in The New York Times here.

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A Bicycle Trip: Fantastic Images, Amazing Shapes and Kaleidoscopic Colors

A Bicycle Trip: Fantastic Images, Amazing Shapes and Kaleidoscopic Colors

A Bicycle Trip is an amazing award-winning short animation by three young Italian filmmakers, Lorenzo Veracini, Nandini Nambiar and Marco Avoletta.  The film tells a story about Dr. Albert Hofman, the chemist working in Basel (Switzerland) who discovered LSD.  On April 19, 1943, Hofmann performed a self-experiment in his laboratory to determine the true effects of LSD, intentionally ingesting 250 micrograms of the substance, an amount he predicted to be a threshold dose (however, an actual threshold dose is only 20 micrograms).

Less than an hour later, Dr. Hofmann began experiencing sudden and intense changes in perception.  He then decided to leave his laboratory, making his journey home on a bicycle.  During the bicycle trip home, Hofmann’s condition rapidly changed, and all along the way he struggled with alternating feelings of anxiety and fear, accompanied by perceptions of an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with an intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.

A Bicycle Trip: Fantastic Images, Amazing Shapes and Kaleidoscopic Colors

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Switch: If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!

Switch: If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!

Switch is a 4-minute short animated film by the young French filmmakers Jean-Julien Pous and Pierre Prinzbach, who describe the film as “a metaphysical thought on the pressure of time on our society.”  Switch recently won the Jury Grand Prize, Folie-Ô-Skop, in Québec. The film takes place in a surreal world where people are born with clocks on their backs, and life nothing more than a constant rat-race.  Humanity, as portrayed through the eyes of a business-calibrated mannequin, is in a struggle within itself about the ever-increasing demands of time in the face of important choices that need to be made.  The mannequin attempts to cope with this struggle by doubling itself, which then leads to an infinite re-doubling of itself.  Its attempted solution only leads the mannequin to experience a sense of anonymity among the rapidly accumulating multitudes of its identical selves.  Further, the unsuccessful solution leads the mannequin’s frustrating journey to end in a state of solitude, confronted by a timeless, boundless oceanic world.

Switch: If You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!

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So Many Days Like This: Loneliness

So Many Days Like This: Loneliness

Loneliness is a very touching 3-minute animated short film from the BBC/Northern Ireland series called Days like This, produced by Evelyn McGrath and animated by Fran Power.  In the film, the proprietor of a bookshop sits all alone in his little shop most of each day.  His patience is severely strained by the few people who do come in, because almost all of the time they just want to look and look, not buy.  However, at the very end of the film, the shopkeeper finds redemption in the most unlikely of places.

So Many Days Like This: Loneliness

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We Were Once A Fairytale: The Artist’s Coup de Grâce

We Were Once A Fairytale: The Artist’s Coup de Grâce

We Were Once A Fairytale is a new short film directed by Spike Jonze, in collaboration with singer-rapper Kanye West.  The film is set in a hip-hop nightclub, which is overflowing with drinks and beautiful ladies.  From the very beginning of the film, the action is fragmented, the background music is tweaked to a level of disturbing distortion and the lighting conjures up delusional effects.  Jonze’s filmmaking cinematography and sound design skills authentically render the feeling of being extremely bewildered in a disorienting hot-spot nightclub.

The short film attempts to lampoon Kanye West’s well-known arrogance by evincing more self-conceit and self-deprecation, with a bizarre, hallucinatory ending that features a small demon-like furry rodent and a form of Samurai seppuku/hari-kari.  At the beginning of the film, Kanye drunkenly staggers around the club while one of his songs plays in the background, asking everyone if they like the tune and inappropriately trying to hit on various women in the club.  Later the scene changes, and Kanye thinks that he’s ended up  in a VIP room for a sexual tryst with a beautiful young woman, only to wake up startled and dejected when he discovers that she was really only the couch.  At that point, the movie spirals out of control, as Kanye rushes downstairs to the bathroom, vomits torrents of red paper rose petals and curls up on the bathroom floor.

At the very end of the film, what can only be described as a demonic monkey pops up to torment the Heartless hit-maker.  The heavily symbolic birth/ death scene at the conclusion of the film is quite disorienting, but one that is to be expected from the envelope-pushing Spike Jonze, who always shies away from the more obvious imagery.  In lampooning West’s self-indulgent public behaviors and image, Jonze transforms Kanye West into a more sympathetic character, at least on film, helping the singer to rid himself of whatever demons reside within him in a cathartic, moving and powerful final scene.

In summary, We Were Once A Fairytale is certainly not a children’s fairytale movie, but rather a fairly disturbing, possibly awesome, but unquestionably super-bizarre work of art from director Spike Jonze.

We Were Once A Fairytale: The Artist’s Coup de Grâce

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American Cantos: Visual Poetry Inspired by the Mystique of Remote Landscapes

American Cantos: Visual Poetry Inspired by the Mystique of Remote Landscapes

American Cantos is a wonderfully tranquil 3-minute short film by cinematographer Joe Taylor, which provides scenes of visual poetry that are inspired by the mystique of remote locations and landscapes, often found in the American West.  Taylor further describes the inspirations that influence his filmmaking: “My passion for cinematography is fulfilled only when I find that special place that overwhelms with its beauty, tranquility, and even some latent danger.  I often find beauty in the most uninspiring locale and my gift is creating a scene that encourages the spectator to find it too.  These rare moments are born of waiting at remote and inhospitable locations for hours for just the right light and magic to emerge, only to return time and time again before being satisfied.  These scenes are fleeting and are my labors of love.”

American Cantos: Visual Poetry Inspired by the Mystique of Remote Landscapes

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